Offbeat, Online Magazine

Taking the ‘Cool’ Out of Bullying

REEM BAKHEET

Bullying has adverse effects on all parties – instigators, victims and audience.


As the new school year approaches, becoming part of the cool kid clique becomes every child’s mission, and the pressure is inevitably increasing. It’s no longer a small problem and it’s one that needs careful attention.

Bullying is leading but in a negative and dictatorial way, explains Reem Bakheet, a social and educational consultant who has worked in the education sector for over two decades. It can encompass a number of acts – physical or emotional abuse, name calling, teasing, excluding a person from a group, etc.

“A kid ended up changing his name because he was bullied so badly in school – and it wasn’t even a bad name; it was just a strange one,” she tells us. “He was so affected that he could no longer live with that name. And it’s not a small step – you’re changing your whole identity.”

Ghalib Abulfaraj, a clinical psychologist at ACT, shares a case he remembers vividly: “My client was 12 years old and a victim of constant bullying; he was overweight so other kids would name call him and sometimes resort to other means such as hitting and punching.”

“The child wasn’t able to defend himself and in turn had very low self-esteem. What’s worse is, he would never speak to the teacher about this because he thought that would only increase the bullying.”

After a few sessions, Abulfaraj understood the reason why the victim couldn’t stand up for himself – he witnessed his father abuse the mother and was also abused himself. In turn, he couldn’t trust anyone and wasn’t able to make any friends either.

“The problem begins at home. If parents teach the importance of good mannerisms and practice it also, children will develop in a stable environment. If they witness abuse and aggressive behavior at home, they will pick up on it,” Bakheet says, explaining how disturbed children turn into bullies.

The instigator is usually a person who wants to control others – they lack self-confidence and are covering for their weaknesses, she adds. “These people need help because they come from broken homes.”

It’s a chain reaction.

“There’s a comic I came across where a man is being yelled at by his boss. He comes home and starts yelling at his wife who is serving him soup. She spills it and ends up yelling at the child. The child goes and starts beating up the cat,” says Bakheet, adding the chain needs to be cut somewhere and is usually has to be by the mother.

According to a study, Japan faces the least amount of bullying in the world, shares Bakheet. “It’s because of the way they raise their children and the environment they maintain at home.”

Bullying has negative effects on all three parties – bullies, victims and the audience. “Kids who are bullied perform poorly in school, develop low self-esteem, become depressed, higher absenteeism rate, may resort to violent behavior in order to protect themselves and have a higher probability of committing suicide,” shares Rachanee Mallam, quality assurance and education consultant.

“Bullies also perform poorly in school, are at a higher rate of dropping out, develop social disorders and may also commit more serious crimes in the future.”

Bakheet says the audience’s role is critical – they either reinforce the behavior of the bully or put a stop to it. These people grow up to become passive members in social settings. If someone is getting mugged, they may just sit there and do nothing about it, or take a stand and call the police.

All this behavior can and should be molded in their formative years, otherwise “it becomes a part of their personality and it’s not a habit anymore,” she says. “And if you’re a victim today, you will become an abuser tomorrow.”

According to Bakheet, in Saudi Arabia, the focus is always on the information in the books – teachers want to finish the curriculum. “The focus should be on developing individuals and for that, we need dedicated teachers.”

SOLUTION: Counseling and Developing Self Esteem

“A parent needs to take the child who is bullied to a certified counselor who can provide a safe and trusting space for the child and work on assertiveness training. Schools need to develop a wide anti-bullying policy, and teachers need to be more aware of behavior management techniques to best protect children from bullying.” – Ghalib Abulfaraj

GHALIB ABULFARAJ

GHALIB ABULFARAJ

“Teach kids to always be respectful and polite, play positive games to spark friendship between kids, brainstorm solutions to stop bullying and role play “what if” situations.” –  Rachanee Mallam

RACHANEE MALLAM

RACHANEE MALLAM

“We need to counsel and prepare them as individuals. If they are victims now, they will remain victims for the rest of their lives unless the issue is dealt with in the early stages. We need to give them a lot of self-esteem – projects to work on themselves or in teams and give them appreciation. We need to make them feel like they are worth it – bullies and victims both. We also need to train teachers and parents to be more vigilant.” – Reem Bakheet

Increasing Statistics

The Ministry of Education has provided a helpline for students to call and speak to counselors if they face issues in school. “91.6 percent of the phone calls received were from girls – this is a huge number and it reveals two things: girls are seeking help and aren’t able to speak at home, and boys are taught to not express themselves. They are told they are men and they shouldn’t cry or whine and deal with it themselves,” says Bakheet. “This is disturbing.”

According to another study recently conducted in a local university in the Kingdom, “75.1 percent of boys and 42.9 percent of girls are victims of bullying,” Bakheet shares.

Studies reveal physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school and declines in high school; verbal abuse, on the other hand, remains constant, says Mallam.

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Online Magazine, Travel Trends

Seychelles: Sea, Sun and Fun

lemuria-seychelles-aerial-view-6

The idyllic setting will lure you in.


Picturesque oceanic views, white powdered beaches, breathtaking coral reefs and sparkling blue tropical waters bustling with a myriad of vibrant fish epitomize what Seychelles – the archipelago of over 100 islands – is all about. What makes this a top pick for a holiday destination is the privacy, exclusivity and serenity it provides its visitors – the beaches are so massive, you almost feel like you’re the only one there…

So if you’re looking for a laidback vacation – away from the hustle and bustle of city life – head over to the white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters to relax, unwind and soak in the warmth of the sun!

Itinerary

With 100+ pristine islands, there’s no underestimating the beauty of this magical land. Apart from just taking a backseat and relaxing under the sun, there’s a whole list of water works adventure buffs can ‘dive’ into, and quite literally! Go diving, snorkeling, fishing, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, paragliding or even island hopping – the list is endless.ephelia-seychelles-zip-line-activity-5

For avid art lovers, there’s a vibrant art scene as well – artists from around the world have fallen into the inspirational trap of the island and set up galleries there.ephelia-seychelles-2016-bicycling

Located in the Indian Ocean off East Africa, the Seychelles also promises exotic wildlife – it is home to the rare magpie robin – lush tropical forests to explore and breathtaking granite peaks. Be sure to go on bicycle expeditions and bird watching sessions, with over 10 different species to be mesmerized by.

Dine Divine

The Seychelles is a haven for foodies, and will take you on an unforgettable gastronomical journey. Coconut water and refreshing lemongrass are omnipresent on the islands and definitely a hydrating treat.ephelia-seychelles-2016-dishes-03 If you’re staying at one of the luxury Constance Hotels and Resorts (Constance Ephelia or Constance Lemuria), then get ready to be served fresh juices, jams and sorbets – made using seasonal fruits and vegetables specially grown on the island. prince-maurice-archipel-restaurant-dishes-7Other tropical flavors to entice your palate include Seychellois chips made of cassava, creole omelet or the mas huni (made out of coconut and chili) and signature bourgeois fish – you can also try uncommon treats such as bat and venison! The chain promises an epicurean experience for fine dining buffs, and they mean it.prince-maurice-archipel-restaurant-8

Other must-try restaurants include Nest, Diva, and Adam and Eve.

The realm of street food in the Seychelles is another story altogether and something that cannot be missed. And since the idyllic islands are set in the spectacular Indian Ocean, expect the finest flavors and delicacies of the sea.

Nest Dinner on the Rocks

Nest Dinner on the Rocks.

Luxury Accommodations

If you like the finer things in life, allow the Seychelles to reintroduce you to luxury. From the superior glamour to the Robin Crusoe getaway, Constance Hotels and Resorts offers a variety of services that tick all the right boxes. Each 5-star property has its own personality thanks to a unique architecture which enables a total integration in the natural scenery. They offer customized and warm services, and the hospitable attitude of the staff is surely the cherry on top.

Spas Galore

prince-maurice-2016-ab-spa-kiosk-product-02No vacay is complete without a day well spent at the spa. U Spa, the blissful spa village at Constance, is set in the tranquil heart of the resort’s stunning tropical gardens and swaying palm trees. Treatment options are innumerable, so allow yourself to simply relax, rejuvenate, detox and rehydrate. Choose from a range of U Spa classic massages, facials and body treatments using aromatic natural products inspired by plants from the Indian Ocean, or pick from the Valmont collection, a lush range of expert anti-ageing treatments designed by Swiss cellular cosmetic experts.

Perfect Getaway for Honeymooners

ephelia-seychelles-kayak-group-incentive-activity-1Situated in the glorious Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is famed for being the ideal honeymoon spot. The idyllic setting sets the tone and vibe of the place just right, and Constance has the perfect packages for newlyweds too. Honeymooners are invited to spend their first days as husband and wife in heavenly surroundings with luxurious villas and picturesque suites, romantic dinners à deux, couples massages and many more unique experiences such as private sunset cruises. All that is left for you to do is leave your footprints in the sand as a newlywed!

flag_of_seychelles-svgSeychelles: Sanctuary or Paradise

Capital: Victoria
Currency: Seychellois rupee
Official languages: French, English, Seselwa

How to Get There

  • Visa requirements: Seychelles tourist visa is not required for citizens of Saudi Arabia for a stay of up to 30 days. All travelers will need a passport valid for at least 90 days following the departure date from Seychelles. It is advisable to travel with a six-month validity on your passport at all times.
  • Flights: Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Air Seychelles and Saudi Airlines have direct flights from Jeddah to Victoria.
  • Fare: SR 6,700 approx.coco-damier-biggest-seed-in-the-world

Interesting Facts

  • Victoria, capital of the Seychelles, is the smallest in the world and can be easily explored on foot in one day.
  • The Seychelles was once a pirate hideout, in particular Anse Forbans (Pirate’s Cove) on Mahé and Côte d’Or on Praslin. Legend says that famous pirate Olivier Levasseur hid a treasure worth over $160,000 which remains undiscovered till date.
  • Bird Island is home to the heaviest land tortoise living in the wild, Esmeralda, who tips the scales at 670 pounds.
  • Breadfruit is very popular on the Seychelles and can be eaten in a variety of ways from fried to boiled. Legend has it that anyone who eats it while on the islands will return someday.
  • It is a celebrity hotspot – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent their honeymoon there as well as George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin.
  • The Seychelles is the only member of the UN whose name in English has no letters in common with Britain.
  • The Seychelles competed at every Olympics since 1980, except Seoul 1988, but has never won a medal.

Web: constancehotels.com, epheliaresort.com, lemuriaresort.com
Email: mkt@constancehotels.com, info@epheliaresort.com

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